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Influence of the Number of Statewide Referenda Involving Emotionally-Charged Issues on Voter Turnout, 2006

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  • Richard Cebula

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Abstract

The issue of same-sex marriage is an emotionally charged one. So is the issue of abortion. This is true to the point where it has resulted in several cases in the placement of statewide referenda on the ballot for voter approval or disapproval. This study tests the hypothesis that greater numbers of such emotionally charged referenda may increase voter turnout because they may elevate the expected gross benefits of voting by empowering “interested voters” while not significantly increasing the expected gross costs of voting. Using state-level data for all 50 states for the 2006 general election, and after allowing for a variety of economic and demographic factors, this study finds compelling evidence that the numbers of statewide referenda dealing with same-sex marriage and abortion did in fact significantly increase voter turnout. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2008

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Cebula, 2008. "Influence of the Number of Statewide Referenda Involving Emotionally-Charged Issues on Voter Turnout, 2006," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 36(4), pages 383-393, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:36:y:2008:i:4:p:383-393
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-008-9146-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
    4. Richard Cebula & Michael Toma, 2006. "Determinants of Geographic Differentials in the Voter Participation Rate," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(1), pages 33-40, March.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:65-75_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Richard Cebula, 2005. "Strong Presidential Approval or Disapproval Influencing the Expected Benefits of Voting and the Voter Participation Rate," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 33(2), pages 159-167, June.
    7. John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Direct Democracy Works," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 185-206, Spring.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:63-76_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:pia:review:v:8:y:2017:i:2:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Legislative referenda; Same-sex marriage; Voter turnout; D72;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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